I mentioned my brother came to visit us in California and our children showered him with love and attention and all three trying to get his attention at the same time. So you can imagine the noise when he got down to their level on the floor.
My brother was in the Army Air Force and had just finished his last tour of duty in Japan. He brought us a Japanese flag as a souvenir. He came to visit us before starting his civilian job for IBM because he knew he would not be able travel once he started to work. Before his trip ended he wanted to see the “sites” in California and came with us on our trip to Disney Land.
We rented a stroller for our youngest because it would have been too much walking and she was too big to be carrying all day. The park had many strollers available so it wasn’t unusual and they encouraged it because the rental was free. Many rides were not for children her size so it was good she was able to snooze once in a while when the other two were on the rides. When my children saw these pictures they remarked at how I was dressed and said “You went to Disney Land in Sunday clothes”. I told them it was the custom to wear dress up clothes to go anywhere away from home.
Our children were learning to do lots of things besides swimming, like ride two wheel bicycles, roller-skating and just learning how to get along with other children in the neighborhood. We had a mixture of ages in our development that gave
kids an opportunity of learning some of these things before they were really old enough. Second child K was the first to learn how to ride an adult's two wheel bicycle and she couldn’t even reach the seat to sit. She learned on a friends’ bicycle that lived in the unit next door. I don’t know how our son learned or on whose bicycle. My brother bought our son a bicycle for his birthday and he had no trouble getting on and off without falling.
Learning to skate was something else. We doctored so many boo boos and used many band-aids, I am sure we did our share keeping up the Johnson and Johnson stock. They came in so many times booing from falls. Number three child was on athree-wheeler that was no problem. The only problem she had was the little dog next door kept knocking her down to lick her face. His name was Heinz 57 because you couldn’t tell what kind of dog it was.
C and I loved cats and dogs and always had both around for our kids. It seems as though the stray animals always migrated to our house because the kids loved animals and were always bring strays home. We had a black cat with four white paws that showed up at the door that we named mittens and she was pregnant. We tried to find out who owned it to no avail. In the housing project military moved out so fast that pets were often left behind because they knew the neighbors would take them in. After we took her in and one morning she had four kittens not in the box we had fixed for her, but on third Childs’ bed.
We were able to find homes for them because they were adorable and playful. One day I had knocked over one of the lamps I saved during the small earthquake and it broke putting a large hole in it. I patiently glued the pieces having to wait in between pieces for it to dry thoroughly. The hole was getting smaller by degrees because it took some time to glue all the pieces.
One day we were to deliver one of the kittens to its new home and we couldn’t find it. We search all over the house and the time came to leave and still no kitty. We called the people and said we couldn’t find the kitten they picked out and when we do we would set up another delivery time. That evening as we were sitting down to read the paper, and the kids were playing on the floor and long and behold after an all day nap the kitty appeared sticking its head out of the hole in the lamp that wasn’t completely closed, yawning and stretching. We had a good laugh because we looked everywhere but there. I guess it felt it was a safe place to hide and sleep from the kids. (Pun intended.) It did not take too long after that to get the lamp finished and painted. I was pleased with myself because the break in the lamp wasn’t obvious because I used some plaster. We have many stories about the family pets I would like to share some as humorous. Until then, I am Immigrant Daughter
As we were approaching El Centro from San Francisco I was enjoying the blessing the Lord was giving us of the beautiful countryside to drive through. I believe the extremes between northern California and Southern California with Hollywood in between is like an Oreo cookie different but it all good.
As we drove our way to San Diego we stopped quite a bit admiring the scenery and giving us the opportunity to let the kids stretch their legs. Bye this time our kids were fairly good travelers. They knew my eating habits determined our stops except bathroom emergencies. Being a diabetic didn’t make traveling any easier. We had to travel with food in the cooler all of the time.
I had a time schedule that C helped me keep balanced because of having to take insulin more than once a day. We spent three days in San Diego because C loved boats and the water. More than once he said, "I wish they had an opening in San Diego". It never happened.
As we drove on to El Centro the scenery started to change. We drove through some mountains that were just rocks and boulders no green to be seen anywhere. The people lived in houses clustered together without any signs of grass or trees anywhere. But I must admit they probably didn’t miss the trees because the boulders and mountains consumed the countryside.
The closer we got to El Centro green started to appear, not necessarily grass, but vegetation that was indigenous to the area, large and small cactus and nettles. We passed farms that were long rows of lettuce, carrots, and other low to the ground crops.
As we approached the center of town I noticed that the sides of the buildings were black and I mentioned to C what an odd color to paint the building in this heat. He laughed and I asked, “What are you laughing at?” he said, you’ll see. As we got close to the first building I saw that it was not paint, but crickets from top to bottom on the outside of the building. Every morning the business people had to sweep out the dead crickets before they could open. Crickets were everywhere. This reminded me of the green head fly season in N.J. that was yucky because the flies were so large and so many of them at a time that the businesses had to change their sticky fly catcher strips up before they could open. I have come to the conclusion every place has something to annoy you.
The time we spent in southern California was really enjoyable. We made many short sight seeing trips. My brother A. came to visit us in California and we made a special trip to Disney Land and Knotts Berry Farm that opened up about that time. We stayed at a motel that was close bye. At that time Disney Land was still in the beginning stages, of building, motels and restaurants. C had a friend that was working for Disney Land who gave us a tour of “ behind the scenes” projects just beginning and some of which were still on paper.
Walt Disney had a dream of having separate parks within the original Disney Land Park. They were already building “Frontier Land” at the time we were there. It was great seeing all this comes into existence. We toured Story Book Land by boat.
Knotts Berry Farm was a place I will always remember. Its’ theme was early America in the west. C. Always researched ahead of time places he wanted to take our family. We would plan a trip and then we would and see as much as we could in the area. When we went to Knotts Berry Farm and it was there that C. purchased a squaw dress for me.It was a two-piece outfit that was black and white trimmed in silver brick brack. The skirt was tiered in three sections making it very full. It was beautiful and it lasted many years. We took a horse and wagon ride that the kids loved. This place was truly geared for the family that had a lot of free things to do and see. As I understand it now nothing is free in those places.
We were stationed at the Naval Air Facility for 5 years and it was there we first learned to bowl in a league. One season, our team finished in first place in the couple’ league. I was the bowler that gave us a handicap that we desperately needed because all our team had high bowling averages of 180 to 245 except me I had a 110 average. We really enjoyed bowling so much that we purchased our own shoes and bowling balls. I still have mine and enjoy bowing when the opportunity arises. At this age I am glad it is only weighs ten pounds.
When my daughter and children came for a visit last year, we went bowling and one of her boys used C’s 16-pound bowling ball and did very well with it. I asked him if he wanted his grandfathers’ bowling ball and he said yes, so it is one more item I found a home for.
El Centro is right on the boarder of Mexico and Mexicali was south side. The military had incidents of men losing their automobile in Mexicali when they crossed over and they left their vehicles unattended. Also if they were ever arrested there the Mexican government never notified the United States and the word was some military men were on the record as deserters because they were not heard of again. The hand tooled leather products were inexpensive and we purchased purses for my sisters for Christmas that year and one for myself as well. The dollar exchange for the Pasco was at least ten to one that made it a good buy. Mexico also made pottery that was colorful. I had never seen anything like it before and store after store in Mexicali was selling the pottery. I purchased one piece that was olive green that looked like it was marbleized. It was a water carrier that had two handles near the top to carry it. It matched the color in the lamps on my end tables that were shaped like large gourds. They were green and mustard. I put this water jug on the floor in the living room.
When we had a small earthquake I remember I ran and grabbed the lamps, the only brand new item in the living room, so they wouldn’t fall off the tables and break. My kids laugh about it now and kid me how I ran to save the lamps that were so important to me and told them to run in the bathroom to be safe. We practiced fire drills whenever we moved into a different home and now the California earthquake drill was added to our practice of safety.
I still am amazed how patient the Lord was with me then as a “baby” Christian learning what is really in important in life. It certainly is not earthly things. Until next time, I am Immigrant Daughter.
Here we are now in El Centro after traveling about 12 days from San Francisco It was wonderful being back in the states for more reasons than fresh fruit and vegetables. We were able to call dad and speak to him on the same day and feel like we could get to see him without having to cross the Pacific Ocean. The climate in the southern California desert was to me just as pleasant as Guam because it wasn’t the damp cold of N.J. I was use to.
The first place we lived was a small unit that was a remodeled chicken coop. My ;youngest child celebrated her first birthday at the chicken coop! Sounds awful doesn’t it? But actually it wasn’t all that bad. Our children were able to play outside without me having to worry about them running into the streets. The farm was far enough back in the woods that we couldn’t even the see any traffic. It was close enough to the base that made getting to work easy for C and gave us some closeness to the civilians in the area.
C had put our name on the housing list for new quarters on the base. We only had to wait about four months when the units became ready. The units were one floor that housed four families in three bedroom apartments. We were fortunate to get and end unit. We had to cut our own grass if we fenced in any part of the yard. This was easy to do on the end unit because our back yard faced the back of a carport, which was long and parallel to our housing unit. This position of the building gave us only two sides to fence in for a play area. This helped in keeping other kids from cutting through the yard to get out to the front. The back of this carport unit gave us welcomed shade in our back yard so the kids could play outside protected from the scorching sun.
We put a child’s plastic pool in the back yard that was six-foot square and two feet deep that had a metal frame wide enough to sit on. As you can imagine this was a big mistake because of the heat when the sun was shining in that part of the yard. It made the metal frame to hot to touch and I had to lift the kids to put them in the water. The good part of this was that the water was warm and felt like bath water and the kids loved splashing each other.
This air station had good medical facilities, a large commissary, a movie house and a nursery school. One day the Chaplain came to see me and asked if I would consider running the nursery school because the lady in charge was leaving the area. They had a bus going around the base picking up the children and after school they would take them home. This made it easy for me to say yes because C needed to car to go to work in the control tower which was a mile or so away.
There were 20 children ages 3 to 5 years old in the school and my youngest was 3 yrs old so I was able to take her with me. The supplies they had were marvelous up to date teaching tools. I had one mother as a helper and she informed me she had never seen the children so well behaved. It didn’t matter to me whose child it was if they needed discipline they got it.
Children that age are teachable and eager to learn. The first thing they learned was to get along with each other and to use an inside voice when playing games inside. They had to learn to share toys and play together. They learned to pledge allegiance to the flag and sing My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee, and many nursery songs. At the end of the school year we had a program for the parents and to come and see what their children learned. They were quiet impressed. The Chaplain received an award from the commanding officer for maintaining an outstanding nursery school. The military families grew in attendance at the chapel.
Our housing unit was at the beginning of the dependant housing and faced the street that had empty warehouses across the street. The base was in the process of remodeling the old buildings. The ones across the street from our house were just torn down giving us a view of a large empty space all the way to the activity buildings. The first building was the Olympic size swimming pool. It also had a shallow pool that was next to it. It was a good for families because the kids that couldn’t swim could be with those that could and be with each other.
My son had no fear of the water and learned to swim quickly. He was diving off the high diving board and tried to go down and touch the bottom before coming up. The first time I saw it I was thankful there were two Life Guards on duty because I knew I couldn’t go down that far if he needed help. He was a small wiry kid that loved the water. The Life Guards liked him and kept an eye on him so I didn’t worry when he was there by himself going on ahead to the pool before I got the girls ready.
Living on the base had its privileges. Our kids went to the movies by themselves on Saturday afternoon and we always gavethem 10 cents for popcorn from the machine. One Saturday my son comes running home and said come quick K got her hand stuck in the machine. C and I went to the building that house the movie and sure enough K had her hand caught in the machine trying to get the popcorn out while she was clutching the dime in the other hand. I asked her why she did that andshe said some kid told her she could get the popcorn without putting the money in the machine. To free her hand they had to take the machine apart. It took two hours. That was a hard way to learn that you can’t get anything out of a machine without putting in the money first.
Until next time, I am Immigrant Daughter. (I want to thank Kathy B, Anita and QMM for your encouragement.)
I ended the last post with having to wait until child #3 was born before I could travel to GUAM. It was 8 months until a billet opened up allowing me to travel there with three kids. Travel expenses were our responsibility to San Francisco, California where the Navy housed all the dependents. There was a minimal charge for the housing while we waited to board the transport ship.
My sister E traveled with me to help with the children while flying across country from east coast to the west coast. I welcomed the company and help. The airlines were pleasant to the little travelers and to us. They each received wings and lots of attention from the flight crew.
We had two days to wait before we could board the ship, so my sister arranged for us to tour the city by bus and by cab. San Francisco is a beautiful city and the weather was wonderful. The two days passed quickly and we had to be at the dock by 9:00 a.m. We said our tearful goodbye to my sister and she was not allowed to go on board to help me get settled.
The next few pictures are from a historical document they gave us for a keepsake of the trip. The military had many service men available to help families with their children, luggage, and to find their cabin. I had three children so I did get a cabin with no other family. They housed the ones traveling with no children in a cabin with others traveling alone. We were on a deck with no port holes so I am sure we were many decks down close to the water line.
I met a family that had six kids that sort of blended with my family because they were older and loved kids that were younger to boss around. My kids just enjoyed being with other kids. All the families kept their cabin doors opened so we could overflow into the passageways, to play games or cards or just talk until lights out. It took fourteen days to travel to Guam stopping, but not being able to get off, at Hawaii and then to Guam. This map is from the back of the booklet showing our trip across the pacific.
By the time we arrived we were thankful to sent our feet on the ground. It took a lot less time to get off than it did to get on board the ship.
I had never traveled out of N.J. except to go the Pennsylvania and I must tell you I had never seen any place like this with coconut palms everywhere that were tall and beautiful.
The weather was a warm balmy climate all the time giving us an opportunity to go swimming any time day or night. Many times we take food and eat on the beach. The water was blue and the sandy beach white. On day one of the service men machetied his way two feet in the jungle and found a Japanese tank that was left. That was scary.
We spent one Christmas there and I must say that was enough. The Christmas trees that were hauled in for the military were so dead the brown pine needles fell off and only stripped branches remained to decorate and as bad as they looked we bought one and decorated it with lots of tinsel. We lived in a very large Quonset hut that had screens for windows.
There was only Gods’ air condition. It would rain at a moments notice and just as quick the sun would come out dry the clothes on the line you happen to be hanging up.
The island had the biggest roaches I ever saw and they told me they are water roaches and not to leave wet dirty dishes around. When I saw my first water roach I knew I would not like it there.
The Greek custom was to attend church on Christmas Eve at 11:00. p.m. for caroling and communion then come home and open gifts and eat sandwiches, cookies with coffee or wine. The Chapel accommodated all religions and they had a service for the catholic faith that we attended on Christmas Eve because it was much like the prostent religion we were use to. It was a custom that C and I carried on with our children. We called dad that night and it was the next day there.
Fresh fruit and vegetables were few and had to be shipped in. When it did there was a long line at the commissary just to buy rotten “fresh” food. I must tell you here that I was very thankful being an American and knowing this was just a temporary situation in our lives and to make the best of it with Gods’ help this too shall pass.
I got to see the control tower where C. worked but was not allowed to go up or inside because it was wooden tower with a ladder on the outside that went straight up. Before any of the men went up they would call to let them know so no one would be coming down at the same time.
One day C. called and said that an opening came up in California and he still was senior to any of those in the tower and was given the opportunity to fill the billet if he wanted. He said he would talk to his wife first and let them know. When he told me about the opening and asked me if I wanted to leave Guam thinking I didn’t, I yelled YES. As beautiful as Guam was and the climate ideal I couldn’t wait to get back to the states just for the availability of fresh food. As you can tell food is important to my comfort.
We were able to travel back to the states together and it was wonderful. The day before we were to board the ship our second number had an infection and they gave her a shot of penicillin and it made her joints swell. She had to be carried on board and to meals. I was very thankful C was traveling with us because I know I couldn’t have handled it alone. Here we are on the ship.
Our car was shipped on the ship with us so we were able travel by car from San Francisco to El Centro that is at the border of Mexico and the United States. That area of California is called the Imperial Valley, because it produces fruit and vegetables second to none. I thought I was in 7th heaven after being in Guam.
I will tell you much more about our 5 year stay there, until next time, I am Immigrant Daughter.
When we returned home from our honeymoon C.C. was making his arrangements with the Navy for his departure to Olathe, Kansas. He had to go to find a place for us to stay. The people in Olathe were very cooperative with the military’s coming and goings to their town, by opening their homes renting out bedrooms with kitchen privileges. We were one of three renting one of those bedrooms with a family that had grown children who were married and live elsewhere.
Also I was third in line with kitchen privileges and many times we ate our supper later than we cared to. The other two renters were officers and their wives. They were not too kindly to the enlisted by not abiding to the time allotted to each of us in the kitchen. I learned how to “kill them with kindness” and just started to fix our meal and saying I was sorry to intrude but it was my time for the kitchen. They did not know how to respond to kindness so they simply ignored us at supper when we all ate together with the family.
C.C. looked for other quarters that were less stressful for him to study. He found a one bedroom with a small kitchen that had a unit with a small refrigerator under the stove and the bath down the hall. The other renters were also enlisted and friendly. We all got along without any problems to speak of, but I need to tell you of an incident.
There was one student that was late beginning school. He came to Olathe without making housing preparations. The husband could stay in enlisted quarters but not his wife. They were scrambling asking anyone if she could share the apartment and pay something to share the bed saying “Oh I would stay on my side without bothering you or husband.” I showed her out mighty fast and told her NO and not to bother visiting. Friends like that I did not need. Unfortunately there was quite a bit of infidelity going on, some wives were sent home.
I found out I was pregnant with our first child so when school was over I came home to N.J. to be closer to the naval hospital in Philadelphia where our son was born.
Philadelphia was only thirty miles away by car from dad’s house. When the time approached C.C. applied for and was granted thirty days leave to come home. He was home just a few days when I went into labor. Mr. Miller let us use his Buick Road Master to drive to Philadelphia. We had to go over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge to get into Pennsylvania and C.C stalled the car while in line to the tollgate. He tried and couldn’t get the car started. A long line of cars, were stopped behind us with the drivers honking their horns.
A policeman came over to see what the problem was and C.C. blurted out, “my wife is in labor and I have to get her to the hospital”. The police man told him to calm down and told him to put the car in neutral to start it up because he had it in gear and it would not start that way. He cleared the way for us to get in the right lane and gave us directions which way to turn once we crossed over the bridge to get to the hospital. Once we got to the hospital I do not remember a thing except waking up the next day ”. This was a natural birth and not caesarian. I was glad it was over. If women could ever remember the pain of childbirth they would not ever go through it more than once.
C.C. finished top in his class that gave him the first pick of air stations with openings for air control men. He chose to go to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, but instead they sent him to sea aboard the U.S. Coral Sea aircraft carrier, because they needed an air control man right away and wanted the top man in the last class. He only served one month on the aircraft carrier until the man allotted that spot came on board. C then got his choice of Quonset Point.
We lived in Rhode Island for four and a half years where our daughter was born the first year. We lived in a small trailer on the station. When it was time for K. to be born I woke up around 5:00 in the morning and told C. he had better get me to the infirmary. The neighbor kept our son while we went to the infirmary first stopping for C. to purchase cigarettes. We arrived quickly because it was a small base and everything was close. C. helped me inside and then went out to park the car.
The nurse helped me up on the table and said to be patient we had lots of time. The doctor was not in as yet but on his way. As she was getting me ready me she noticed that the baby was not waiting. She said no, no, the doctor is not here yet and then nurse Lord delivered the baby. She took the baby to the nursery and in the hallway she met C. coming in from parking the car and said “ here is your daughter” and he said, “ it’s not mine, I just brought my wife in” and she said, “yes I know”. I think he was in shock thinking what could have happened because he stopped for cigarettes. The picture to the left is C.C. and me with our two kids in Rhode Island.
Switching his rate to air control man helped us stay on shore duty for at least four to five years at a time. We really liked the military life and the family togetherness it inspired.
We lived in many different places. The first place we lived was Olathe, Kansas, the second place was Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and after that we then went to Guam in the Marianna Islands, which was beautiful. I never saw so many shades of green as we approached the island by ship.
I live in the country and am recovering from a broken hip. It keeps me inside too much. I rely on "stick Horse" which isn"t bad to get me to busy places. I find I am getting impatient with getting my balance back. My healing is fine but the process of getting back to normal and its putting me back some. I didn't expect to spent so much time inside when I moved down here. Am beginning some more physical therapy, which should help. I am thankful stickhorse started me blogging. I getting to meet some nice people.